This week California became the first state to pass a comprehensive youth transgender rights law. Ten years ago, most people would have wondered what the fuck that meant. But as times evolve rapidly, now many of us understand that the law lets public school kids who identify as transgender use whatever bathroom they want and play on whatever sports team they want. It’s basically the civil rights issue of our time, akin to Rosa Parks having to sit in the back of the bus (if all parts of the bus were equally good and the bus was segregated for practical reasons). That’s the problem with this issue. There is no doubt transgendered students face hardships, but does that mean we should alleviate those hardships via any solution they demand?
The sports portion of the bill is easiest to dismiss. A transgendered female is going to be bigger, stronger, and more muscular than females. That’s reality, you can’t fight it. The question then becomes, should we supply a level playing field for non-transgendered females, or should we turn women’s sports into a diversity clinic on tolerance? There is obvious value in teaching young female athletes acceptance. However, there is also value in instilling leadership, tenacity, and teamwork in young girls through competition. Those lessons get lost in the shuffle when one or both teams adopts a 2000 Shaq Lakers offense, with a transgendered teen playing the Shaq role in the brilliant “pass it to the tall beast a foot away from the basket” game plan.
This collision between fairness and tolerance in sports is not new. In the 2012 Olympics, a controversy emerged over “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius and whether or not he should be allowed to race using prosthetic legs. Many felt that his blades did not give him an unfair advantage and he should be allowed to race. Those people were fucking stupid. The man had bouncing devices on his feet, like he came from an Inspector Gadget episode, and they claimed traveling on springs was no different than using your feet. Yes he worked hard, but many people work hard, and only 1/20 million people with legs make the Olympics, where it seems 1/20 people with bouncey things becomes a successful sprinter.
Anyway, the point is moot as these people shut up once it became clear this “hero” may have murdered his girlfriend. But why did sentiments change? His actions on that night didn’t change whether or not it was fair for a runner to compete with bouncing devices on his leg. It just changed him from a victim to a villain. And that’s the only reason this bill got passed in California – transgendered students are seen as victims. Once you achieve victim status, a portion of liberals in this country will fight for you and throw reality, facts, and common sense out the window.
Reality in this case is that women cannot physically compete with men in many sports. This is fine. Reality also is that many transgendered students physically inhabit bodies similar to that of men. Common sense would dictate that if you created separate leagues in order to eliminate competition from physically stronger men, you must also eliminate those who were born with those same bodies you’re eliminating.
The more difficult aspect of the law to analyze is the right for transgendered students to use the bathroom of their choosing. This is lauded as making people who lead uncomfortable lives have a more comfortable experience using public bathrooms. But is that a worthy goal? Personally, I think everyone should be as uncomfortable as possible in public bathrooms. Get in, get out, and avoid them at all costs. We don’t need or want people lounging around in there.
It should be noted that this isn’t a segregation issue. The bathrooms are presumably equal in quality, switches will be made in both directions, and most people agree bathrooms need to be segregated. It’s strictly a comfort issue. The question is, if transgender X is more comfortable using the women’s bathroom, should we let her? And if that is the case, if non-transgender Y is more comfortable using the women’s bathroom, should we let him? Why should we only validate the bathroom preferences of transgenders?
Surely there are other men who would feel more comfortable dressing in the women’s locker room than the notoriously bully inhabited male locker room. If that feeling is genuine, why is it any less valid than the discomfort a transgender student feels? Maybe we should all be allowed to shit whenever/wherever we please?
Or maybe we can all accept that this is one part of life where there are a few, absolutely discriminatory rules that help everyone feel comfortable as a collective. Perhaps the toilet will remain the last bastion where the happiness of the majority is held above the cries of a few.